17 Jesus knew what they were saying, so he said, “Why are you arguing about having no bread? Don’t you know or understand even yet? Are your hearts too hard to take it in?18 ‘You have eyes—can’t you see? You have ears—can’t you hear?’ Don’t you remember anything at all? — Mark 8:17, 18 NLT
Depending on what version of the Bible you are reading the word “remember” appears between 148 to 168 times. Moses used it quite often when the Israelis would murmur and complain. He asked them to remember how God had delivered them out of the bondage of Egypt. Not only did He deliver them, but God brought them out with an abundance of riches that the Egyptians gave to them. Still, every time they got tired of the manna or they got thristy, they would complain and wish they were back in Egypt. The disciples, even after seeing all the miracles that Jesus had performed up to this time, were concerned about food for their physical needs. They had just witnessed Jesus feeding thousands of people with a few loaves and a few fish, yet they were concerned about what they would eat. Jesus admonishes them for not remembering these things. Had they remembered them, they would have been at peace with their situation, knowing that Jesus could provide for twelve people very easily. Jesus, the Bread of Life, wanted them to be conerned with Spiritual things and allow Him to be concerned with their physical needs. They needed to stay focused on Jesus and be content with what they had. The same thing applies to us. When we are in a rough patch, we need to stay focused on Jesus and what He has delivered us from in the past. We need to remember the situations He has carried us through. If nothing specific comes to mind, then just remember this — satan would like to kill us right now and he would, if Jesus allowed him to. Whether we draw another breath or not is dependent on the goodness of God and nothing else. So, every breath that we take brings life and when that breath goes out, it should carry a prayer of thanksgiving and praise for God’s goodness and protection for it is “in Him that we live and move and have our being”.
11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All God’s people here send their greetings. 14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. — 2 Cor. 13:11-14 NIV
Rejoice! Isn’t it amazing that after all Paul has gone through and was still going through at this time, that he could say rejoice? Through all the persecutions, beatings, attempts on his life and bearing the burden of wayward people in the churches he had established, Paul was still rejoicing and encouraging others to continue in faithfulness. One of our highest priorities as Christians should be to pray for and encourage others. Compared to what Paul went through and what our brothers and sisters in other countries are going through today, anything we have to suffer through is certainly “a light affliction”. Yet, some of us are so focused on our own problems that we walk around like Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh thinking “Woe is me.”. All of us need more encouragement and more reminding of who we are in Christ Jesus. We need to “zoom out” on our lives and look at the whole panorama that God has given us. The more time we spend focused on Jesus and others, the less time we will have to focus on our own issues. When we take time to fellowship with the Holy Spirit, we find that our spirits are lifted and we can truly rejoice.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.– Phil. 4:4-7